Asus introduced 3 new Transformer tablets this week, but the company has largely focused on the higher-priced, higher-specced Transformer 3 and Transformer 3 Pro. The official press release had far fewer details about the smaller, cheaper Transformer Mini.
But thanks to some of the folks on the ground in Taipei for the Computex show this week, now we have a better idea of what makes this 10.1 inch tablet tick.
My colleagues at MobileGeeks and Notebook Italia both got some hands-on time with the Mini, and here are some of the specs they discovered:
- 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display
- Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor
- 2GB and 4GB RAM options
- Support for up to 128GB of storage (entry-level models will probably have less)
- Full-sized and micro USB ports, micro HDMI, and a microSD card reader
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Fingerprint reader
This isn’t the only new 10 inch tablet from Asus with a Cherry Trail processor. But while the Transformer Book T101 features 2GB of RAM and a solid keyboard that lets you use the tablet like a laptop, the Transformer Mini borrows its design cues from the Microsoft Surface: there’s a kickstand on the back of the tablet and the keyboard cover attaches to the front of the tablet via magnets.
Interestingly Asus has also omitted a rear camera from the Transformer Mini. There is a front-facing camera for video chats or selfies, though.
Asus says the Transformer Mini weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 8.2mm (0.32 inches) thick. The combined weight of the tablet and its keyboard cover is about 1.74 pounds.
Once again I read the comments and not the review to get the real story.
I find it interesting the same things keep popping up; screen, Atom, cheap, Surface…………
I bought the Mini for $279.00 right after Christmas and knew what I was getting. It is for a particular purpose for work and some fun after work. The HD screen hasn’t disappointed for video or a fast edit in photoshop (yep photoshop and gopro studio). Is it slow, you betcha, but not unreasonable. Does my Surface 4 or even my Note 10.1 2014 look better for resolution, without a doubt.
I’m very happy with my sub-$300 Mini. For those of you that just love to diss the low price equipment may I suggest you pull out the credit card and spend the $1000 for the “good stuff” and stop trying to be the ultimate judge of tech. What was it they said about opinions and …………
By they way if you want to compare our computer bags I’m more than willing to take the challenge. I’ll promise you the Mini will be in that bad with the big boys.
Asus is the best!
I don’t like the kickstand or cheap plastic keyboard that my kid will break. It’s too big for a tablet and too flimsy to be a real laptop. Not only that, but it will suck if it only comes with 32gb of storage. And PLEASE don’t tell me I need a geeky Stylus to use this thing! I’ll pass.
Asus seems to be doing a very good job of streamlining their product line naming (Zenbook 3, Transformer 3, etc), but they are doing a very poor job of making products I actually want to buy.
I wouldn’t consider buying a 10″ tablet with a 1280×800 resolution.
I like smaller devices, but its becoming apparent that the 12″ tablets are getting all the attention these days, and 10″ tablets are becoming budget devices.
I’d really like to order the HI12, but not until they release some kind of flip-cover for it. I’m not going to carry around an exposed 12″ tablet that lacks Gorilla glass.
Although I’m glad to see the BIOS update that Chuwi released recently.
I agree. Why create such a nice looking product with a resolution of only 1280×800 and using the x5 chip.
The Surface 3 (not Pro) which I have is an x7, 4GB Ram and 128GB and has 1920×1280 screen. I got mine with the keyboard, brand new for £470 at PC World, so they are going to have to sell this off under £400 for it to be viable. I doubt they will sell if it’s anything over £349…..
I have a feeling this “mini” will be priced below the $299 T100HA.
Asus is going the wrong direction right now. The biggest complaints everyone had about the original T100 was that it was too weak, and screen resolution was too poor. Since then, the T100 has barely budged on performance, and when it has improved, it has never been an improvement in more than 1 regard (the T100HA had a faster CPU but same 2gb ram, and low screen res).
The only attempt they made was the T100 Chi, but the keyboard was changed to a terrible bluetooth-connected one.
there are t100ha with 4gb ram
You’re right i had that wrong. The screen resolution was the only major letdown. For me it was a deal breaker
Uh, they already went the other way… The mini is their low end model… The Transformer 3 and Transformer 3 Pro are the new standard… They just have a much higher starting price…
The T3 starts at $799 and the T3 Pro starts at $999… The Mini is just a cheapo version of the T3 Pro but getting a Surface like design to T100HA pricing means cutting corners…
While they’re still releasing some other Transformer models that still make use of the keyboard dock design but as Intel won’t be releasing Broxton it’s likely they’re rethinking the budget range… which will won’t know the full ramifications of until probably next year.
Cheap 2 in 1’s may still be around by next year but it’s likely they’re be larger than 10″ after this year…
What I meant was, the 10″ T100 never ventured far enough into the performance scale to be more than just acceptable.
The T200 and T300 (and now the Transformer 3 series) are another story, but the T100 remained a lame product for its whole life. My calling it “lame” is, of course, relative. Relative to things like the iPad. Of course the iPad is an unfair comparison, but it wouldn’t be unfair if Asus actually made a good $399-499 T100.
The problem is the way Asus does business. They don’t much to build their brand image, they just make “johnny-come-lately” products that look great, undercut the big players by getting in at a lower price point by skimping on a few features, and then they are at the mercy of mediocre reviews. Following that they sell them at their MSRP for a while, and then slash pricing like crazy (or they downgrade the product to meet a lower price point, like the T100 when they downgraded it to a Z3735 to get it down to $200).
I never get too excited with their product announcements because they either never end up selling product at all (T300 Duet, T90 Chi, etc, etc), or it ends up getting getting mediocre reviews, or lacks some feature that I’m not willing to do without.
My reaction to every product they have announced in the past 2-3 years has been “it looks great, but I would pay a little more to have X feature”.
The Transformer 3 lineup looks like it could be the exception to that, they look great, and they don’t seem to be skimping on anything I want. But unfortunately, the 10″ gets the ho-hum treatment yet again. And you’re right, the 10″ tablets are going to get left behind with the cancellation of Broxton.
My “lame” T100 is still very useful and productive (way more so than any ipad – and sure an ipad has a higher resolution for playing all those phone games rather than PC games, but the same is true of any Android tablet or phone, nothing special about ipads). Rightly or wrongly, 10″ has always been seen as “budget” in Windows devices, I imagine because they assume people wanting to spend more will want a bigger device, or because if you want a power machine, it’s easier to do with with Intel Core, which is probably easier to put into larger devices. An Atom based machine with a high resolution risks being unbalanced (so you can have an ipad with a high resolution, it’s still an ARM device without the power of Intel Core, not to mention being low spec in other areas like eMMC rather than full SSD).
Absolutely, I have a T100 too. I have the Z3740 model. Still very useful, but only because I know what expectations to have about what it can do. I don’t expect to game on it or anything.
When I say “lame”, I mean that it never evolved into offering what customers wanted. Asus made some better Transformers, but always 13″
You hit the nail on the head when you say that larger devices typically got better specs because it was easier to fit Intel Core chips into larger devices.
I don’t really need a Core CPU or even a Core M. I just want something better than the absolute lowest Atom CPU. I feel like the new T100HA is pretty much there, with the exception of the screen resolution. But I’m disappointed to see that the new T101 refresh model is not improving the screen.
I’d like Asus to rename the T100 to “Lets see how many years we can sell you a 1280×800 screen”
Do you consider the Surface 3 cheap? The Asus T300CHI with a Core m chip was less expensive than the 4GB with its keyboard.
The Surface 3 is not exactly cheap but you pretty much get what you pay for with it… The T300CHI cuts lots of corners on build quality (it’s not terrible but it’s not high quality either), cheap BT keyboard with terrible touch pad, is heavier (not good for a tablet) for its size as it’s only lighter than the Surface Pro 3 but heavier than the Surface 3, digitizer only recognizes 256 levels of pressure sensitivity vs over 1000 for the Surface, etc… It’s not a terrible product but there’s a reason for the pricing difference…
Mind, pricing isn’t based on just the processor but the total cost of the product and all the other parts add up to more of the total price than the processor does…
If MS included the keyboard cover, instead of selling it as an extra separate product, then it would be a pretty good deal but they don’t and that’s what keeps it from being a good priced product to easily recommend…
Asus, at least tends to include the keyboard dock/cover and that helps with the value but doesn’t mean you’re getting the same quality hardware for the price… but few others even bother trying as hard to offer much in these budget price ranges… So there’s that too… But as noted these cheap models tend to always have something about them that keep them from being ideal products… So some compromises are part of the deal, unfortunately…
I chose the T100 over the Surface 3 because of it’s better working on a lap in laptop mode. Also the lighter weight of the tablet portion was a bonus.
I’d gladly take the specs of a Surface 3 in the T100’s form. Maybe a Surface Book Mini…
Note the T100HA 64GB is £280, so yes I imagine the price will be much less than a Surface 3 (which is a shame really – the original T100 was a best seller even though it was more expensive than the T100HA, so I don’t see why they need to keep cutting the costs).
and a horrible job at naming them.
TF101, T100TA, T300 Chi, T100HA, T101, “mini” (same size as most previous devices), …
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